Understanding Rural: A Comparison of Academic, Political and Lay Discourses of Rural




Stoop, Neil

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University of Guelph


Rural is a word, which has many meanings and means different things to different people. Definitions of rural are often sorted into four broad categories; descriptive, socio-cultural, rural as a locality and rural as a social representation. Within each category various definitions exist each with strengths and weaknesses. This research seeks to understand and compare academic, political and lay discourses of rural in the case of Ingersoll, Ontario. A literature review was conducted to understand the academic discourses of rural. A content analysis of government policy and programming along with political election platform was used to understand the political discourses. A survey of residents of Ingersoll was used to determine the lay discourses of rural. The various discourses of rural were compared leading to a series of challenges being put forward for academia, members of the political sphere and citizens.



rural, rurality, define, definition